Here is some more specific information regarding the old and new decoders from the AFN Broadcast Center Website:
Q: The D9865(H) Cisco HD AFN Decoder is now in AAFES outlets. How does that affect people with the current decoder?
A: The new D-9865(H) Cisco AFN Satellite Receiver/Decoder is available for sale and lease to all authorized American Armed Forces customers overseas through military exchanges, and through the State Department support program for those assigned to US embassies and consulates overseas.
Contact your local exchange for more information about the new and old decoders. Scientific Atlanta (A CISCO company) no longer makes model D9835 or earlier models of satellite receivers. The CISCO D9865 AFRTS satellite receiver/decoder has the newest digital technology and replaces all previous AFRTS decoder models (D9234, D9834, D9835).
AFN is converting from an MPEG 2 to an MPEG 4 digital satellite delivery system beginning in Fiscal Year 2012. This conversion will also allow the transition to High Definition Programming via a CISCO D9865 PowerVu Satellite Receiver. The process will not begin until at least 2012 and then will take 2 to 4 years after that. All personally owned decoders will need to be replaced before the switchover to the digital system. With the beginning of the transition 3 years away and the full transition 5 years away this provides plenty of time for current owners to upgrade their decoder(s) before then.
The process of converting the AFN worldwide distribution system from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) is lengthy and complicated with many moving and interrelated parts. The conversion to a new distribution system initially providing both SD and HD service involves making changes to ten full-time domestic and international satellite systems, dozens of commercial satellite earth stations, hundreds of commercial and government cable systems, and replacing nearly 150,000 SD-only satellite receiver/decoders currently in use worldwide.
Once the switchover happens all previous model decoders become obsolete.
The new Cisco D-9865(H) satellite receiver/decoder will be both HD and SD capable with the following new features:
- Reception of high-definition (HD) service when it becomes available from AFN;
- Provide a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) digital output capability in addition to its analog and HD component output capability; home TV picture will be compatible with flat screen LCD/plasma screen displays;
- Offer an interactive channel guide function, which will enable users to scroll to, select and tune interactively to that AFN channel;
- Ensure AFN reception will continue with the same antenna (satellite dish) customers currently use.
(Cisco bought Scientific Atlanta, thus the name change.)